TEAM BRAD WINS FIRST-EVER ‘JEOPARDY!’ ALL-STAR GAMES; TRIO WILL SHARE $1 MILLION GRAND PRIZE
TEAM BRAD WINS FIRST-EVER ‘JEOPARDY!’ ALL-STAR GAMES;
TRIO WILL SHARE $1 MILLION GRAND PRIZE
CULVER CITY, CALIF. (March 5, 2019) – After a 10-day battle between the brawniest brains on television, Team Brad – Brad Rutter, Larissa Kelly, and David Madden – won the JEOPARDY! All-Star Games, presented by Consumer Cellular. Team Ken – Ken Jennings, Matt Jackson, and Monica Thieu – finished second, while Team Colby – Colby Burnett, Pam Mueller, and Alan Lin – came in third. Team Brad will share a $1 million grand prize, while Team Ken will split $300,000 and Team Colby will take home $100,000.
“While the money is certainly nice, the biggest reward is to be able to compete with the best of the best, who also happen to be great people, and to have a lot of fun doing it,” said Rutter, who already held the record for most money won on a game show going into the All-Star Games. “The highlight for me was getting to be a part of a team. There’s always a camaraderie among JEOPARDY! players who are playing against each other; it was really cool to be able to encourage each other and pick each other up if things weren’t going as well as they could have.”
After the first game of the two-day final, Team Brad had $36,000, a slight lead over Team Ken with $32,500; Team Colby trailed with $8,000. Rutter didn’t feel he needed to alter his strategy going into the second game.
“We had been playing really well, so we didn’t want to change anything up,” Rutter said. “We just wanted to stay aggressive if the opportunity presented itself, because we knew Team Ken and Team Colby were more than capable of erasing our modest lead.”
Team Brad did retain their lead going into Double Jeopardy! in the second game, and they never lost it. Rutter, Jennings, and Mueller faced off in the Double Jeopardy! round, and all three players were aware that the Daily Doubles were extremely valuable. Team Brad landed on both and answered two out of two correctly.
“I don’t think I’m giving away any trade secrets when I say that I was certainly hunting for the Daily Doubles,” said Rutter. “When you have the lead, the easiest way for your opponents to come back is to find them, so it was a big relief to get them both. After I got [the second Daily Double] right, I knew it would take a heroic effort for the other teams to get back in it, but that’s exactly what Ken and Pam are capable of, so I made sure to stay focused to preserve the runaway.”
Jennings, whose team finished second, also reflected on the importance of the Daily Doubles in the second game.
“In hindsight, since it was a pretty accessible Final Jeopardy! that everyone knew, the whole game came down to whether Brad or I found that second Daily Double,” Jennings said. “We were both buzzing in well in that round but that one brief stretch where he found both Daily Doubles about a minute apart was really the nail in the coffin. I was thinking the same thing I’m always thinking when I watch Brad play in a tournament: ‘What’s his secret? How many lives does this guy have? The JEOPARDY! gods love Brad Rutter.’”
Rutter and Jennings have faced off several times in the past, with Rutter winning each matchup – except for their competition with IBM’s Watson, who beat them both.
“Brad and I have probably played against each other more than any two other people in JEOPARDY! history, but it’s never enough for me,” said Jennings. “On the one hand, I’m thinking, ‘Just once, can somebody take this guy out in the semis?’ but on the other hand, you want to see how you stack up against the best talent available.”
Jennings said that playing as a team was “a blast,” and said that his team’s convincing win in the first match of the tournament – against Julia Collins’ team and Austin Rogers’ squad – was one of his favorite JEOPARDY! memories.
“Getting such a convincing win in that first match against such all-time talent was the best feeling,” he said. “I remember being so proud of Monica when she nailed that Final Jeopardy! about Rembrandt, and I think that was the match where Matt knew a 1970s ‘Saturday Night Live’ sketch. That was so not in his wheelhouse, but he had prepared like crazy in what he considered ‘weak’ categories, reading whole books about twentieth century TV. It paid off! Everybody overachieved.”
Team Colby advanced to the final match by winning the Wild Card round.
“I was shocked to be there,” Burnett said of his team’s spot in the finals. “I was just happy to play another round. I knew we were staring down two Goliath teams, but just being in that top draw was fulfilling.”
Burnett credits his teammates, Mueller and Lin, with the strategy that led to their Wild Card win, and with encouraging him to embrace the team format.
“Pam and Alan were great competitors and understood the purpose of a team better than I did,” said Burnett. “They’re also great people to be around. Their optimism and upbeat nature helped lift my spirits. We knew our capabilities and performed at our highest level. I am proud of them, I’m glad that I picked them, and I am glad they stood by me throughout this entire process.”
The JEOPARDY! All-Star Games are presented by Consumer Cellular, the “all-stars in wireless.” To learn more about the tournament, please visit Jeopardy.com. Check local listings for show times and stations.
JEOPARDY!’s 35th anniversary season premiered September 10, 2018. With a weekly audience of 24 million viewers, JEOPARDY! is the top-rated quiz show on television, and has won numerous awards and distinctions over the course of its 30+ years on the air, including the 2017 Emmy for Outstanding Game Show. The show holds the Guinness World Records® title for the most Emmy® Awards won by a TV game show (34 Emmys); it is also the recipient of a 2011 Peabody Award. JEOPARDY! is produced by Sony Pictures Television, a Sony Pictures Entertainment Company; it is distributed domestically by CBS Television Distribution and internationally by CBS Television International, both units of CBS Corp. For more information, please visit Jeopardy.com.
About Consumer Cellular
Consumer Cellular is a top-rated wireless carrier that provides no-contract cellphones and service plans primarily to those 50+. The company has been an approved AARP Provider for over 10 years and offers members discounts on service. Founded 23 years ago on the belief that everyone should have affordable access to the safety and convenience of cellular service, Consumer Cellular is privately held with more than 1,800 employees. Their wireless phones and plans are sold nationwide at Target, as well as direct to consumers at ConsumerCellular.com or (888) 345-5509. Consumer Cellular has been awarded by J.D. Power as #1 in Customer Service among non-contract value wireless providers, 6 times in a row, receiving the highest score in the non-contract value segment of the J.D. Power 2016 (V2) – 2019 (V1) Wireless Non-Contract Customer Care Performance Studies of customers’ satisfaction with wireless customer care experience. Visit jdpower.com/awards. Connect with Consumer Cellular on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google+.
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Alison Shapiro Cooke
Director of Communications | JEOPARDY!
Publicity Manager | JEOPARDY!